Winning the Super Bowl brings with it a Lombardi Trophy and often outsized storylines that would otherwise be dismissed as superfluous.
Such is the case with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carson Wentz. Some have taken to diminishing the quarterback's early-season performance because of how Nick Foles played in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LII.
Speaking on The Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday, Eagles coach Doug Pederson defended Wentz from those who have taken to calling the MVP candidate a system QB.
"Listen, Carson Wentz was the MVP talk of the league last year," Pederson said. "And I truly believe if he's healthy, I still feel strongly that we would probably be] in the [Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl with Carson, and he's the MVP. That's just the way he played last year. He's a big reason -- he's not the only reason -- but he's a big reason why we were, I believe, 11-2 at the time, playing the Rams, and won the NFC East. For me, being a former quarterback to have two guys and really three guys, you throw [Nate Sudfeld] in there, but you're talking about Nick and Carson who you just don't bat an eye with either one of these guys. The way they prepare, the way they study, their demeanor on the field, their leadership styles. It's a blessing to have two veteran guys like that and now have a Super Bowl MVP as your backup."
There should be little question that Wentz is the future of the Eagles' franchise. Credit Pederson and executive vice president Howie Roseman for importing a solid backup and coaching to his strengths in the Super Bowl. Foles' play should be viewed as a positive for the QB's financial future and the coaching staff (two of which already got promotions elsewhere), not a dig on Wentz.
The biggest question for Wentz -- and the reason the Eagles could hang onto Foles this season -- is whether he will be full-go in his return from an ACL tear.
Pederson wouldn't put a timeline on Wentz's return but reiterated his optimism the MVP candidate will be ready for 2018.
"You know, we're optimistic, obviously," he told Eisen. "I don't want to put a timetable on him. Obviously, he's working extremely hard. He's in the weight room. He's getting his rehab done. He's looking good, but at the same time, I'm not going to rush him -- like we did with Sidney Jones [this season] -- I don't want to put him out there if he's not 100 percent. So, [I'm] optimistic that that could come to fruition. But again, we'll be smart about it, and we'll put him out there when he's ready."